Ripley admits Northants' clash at Yorkshire is 'on a knife-edge' going into the final day
Head coach David Ripley admits Northants' LV= Insurance County Championship clash with Yorkshire at Headingley is 'on a knife-edge' going into the fourth and final day.
The County were frustrated by one of their own in Northampton-born former player David Willey, who hit 41 not out to steer the home side to a challenging total, and then also ran out in-form skipper Ricard Vasconcelos who was well set on 41.
Willey believes that Yorkshire are now favourites to claim the victory, with Northants closing day three on 94 for four in their second innings, still requiring 126 to win with the top order all dismissed.
It had looked great for Northants earlier in the day when they reduced the home side to 86 for six and then 149 for eight, but Willey, along with Jordan Thompson (37) ensured Yorkshire's final two wickets put on 98, leaving he County chasing a testing target of 220 to win.
“It’s very tight," admitted Ripley, who hails from Leeds.
“There’s no doubt that at certain stages we were ahead today. We were ahead this morning and again halfway through the day.
“But Yorkshire put on 100 for the last two wickets, and that was a good counter-attack.
“Then that cluster of wickets and Ricardo’s (Vasconcelos) run out means it’s absolutely on a knife-edge.
“We feel we’re one partnership away. It’s not a huge target, and if we get that one partnership towards 100 then we’re there.”
Willey, who quit Northants for Yorkshire in 2015, said: "I think we’re probably just favourites at the minute.
“We scrapped well with the bat to get something to bowl at, and there’s still plenty in the pitch. If we can create six chances tomorrow, we’re in with a really good chance.
“It’s hard work with the bat, there’s no denying that. There’s one with your name on."
Asked about what it felt like turning out against his home county, Willey said: “Northants will always have a fond place in my heart.
"I grew up there as a kid, made my debut and played a lot of cricket for them, but I don’t actually know many of their lads who are playing now.
“David Ripley was Academy coach when I first started there. I know Rips well, and I always seem to do alright against them, which he hates!”
Earlier in the day, Wayne Parnell was the star turn with the ball for Northants, claiming five to 79 to complete on the second 10-wicket match of his career.
The South African left-arm seamer is playing only his second match for the club.